Last week, Vietnamese news on cand.com.vn reported that a marine turtle was being kept at a house in An Giang province in southwestern Vietnam. On hearing about the case, ENV immediately contacted the local fisheries department, which visited the house and identified the reptile as a green turtle (Chelonia mydas), – an endangered marine species threatened by hunting and habitat loss. The resident of the house agreed to transfer the turtle, which was confiscated and released into the ocean yesterday.
Green turtles are listed under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Green turtles are also strictly protected under Vietnamese Decision 82/2008/QĐ-BNN and Circular 62/2008/TT-BNN. While they are amongst the most widespread of all marine turtle species in the world, green turtles are endangered largely because of increasing threats from human activity. In Vietnam, they are often sought after as trophies. Interestingly, green turtles take longer to grow up than any other sea turtles – they do not reach reproductive maturity until they are between 26 and 40 years old.
Photo courtesy of An Giang fisheries department